A glance at Amnesty’s webpage is enough evidence in itself of how people’s lives are degraded by a lack of human rights. In the UK we go about our lives with a sufficient level of a feeling of personal security because of laws and norms that give us freedom of speech, movement and sexuality. Gone are the days when being gay meant that The Sun outed you on the front page (if you were reasonably famous) or that you would be sacked from your job.
Amnesty is campaigning actively on anti-gay draconian laws and for freedom of speech in African, among other campaigns. Both could result in spells in jail if a person is found ‘guilty’. We take so many things for granted in our Western world and quite often our experiences are divided by a ‘them and us’ mentality. What happens across the world does not affect us and, therefore, why bother then? We need to bother for the simple reason that what happens across the globe does affect us.
If people in Uganda aren’t allowed to speak their mind about wanting free and fair elections then there is a high risk that without transparency the elections may not be carried out according to fair rules. At a human level when people are killed for speaking out, being gay, or female or disabled then it affects the collective pool of rights that we draw our human rights from. A destabilizing effect in one part of the world could have repercussions for others elsewhere.